International scientific and practical online conference, organized by the English Language Department and Department of English Philology, Nordic Languages and Language Pedagogy of the NArFU Higher School of Social Sciences, Humanities and International Communication was held on 15-16 October 2020.
As a part of the event, plenary and section sessions were organized.
The plenary session was opened with the welcoming address of the Director of the Higher School of Social Sciences, Humanities and International Communication Alexandr Tamitskiy. He congratulated all attendees and noted that linguistic education and international cooperation at NArFU are being developed with the efforts of several departments, including the English Language Department, the Department of English Philology, Nordic Languages and Language Pedagogy, the Department of German and French Philology, the Department of the Russian Language and Speech Culture, the Literature Department, the Translation Studies and Applied Linguistics Department, the Specialized Department of Automated Translation Technologies based on Translation Agency “AKM-West”.
The sessions were followed by presentations of NArFU’s foreign partners:
Kenneth Fordyce, the Director of Internationalization at the University of Edinburgh, Great Britain; an expert in the field of applied linguistics,
Robert Irvine, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of English Literature at the University of Edinburgh, Great Britain;
Caitriona Kirby, a Lecturer in English and Irish Literature at the Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Dublin, Ireland.
Kenneth Fordyce’s presentation was focused on the use of language corpora in teaching a foreign language. The interest of the listeners was expressed towards ocular demonstration of the work with the British language corpora and its application to carrying out necessary tasks. Caitriona Kirby presented an analysis of the work by Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, an Irish poet, a teacher and a translator. The participants especially remembered the illustrative comparison used by the poet to describe the English language as an image of a cat, and the Irish language as an image of a bird, fluttering its wings. Robert Irvine presented a historical survey connected to teaching English literature at British universities.
In addition to participating in the plenary session, Kenneth Fordyce, the Director of Internationalization at the University of Edinburgh, ran a workshop on the use of DDL (Data Driven Learning) in raising learners’ language awareness. During the workshop, the participants were able to gain insight into organization of student’s work using language corpora.
The section sessions were held on two different days. Teachers and students of NArFU, as well as their colleagues from other Russian and foreign universities, discussed issues of applied linguistics, foreign language teaching methods, culture, and literature.
At the section “Teaching and Assessment in Second Language Education” presentations were made on topics relating to the urgent matters of distant learning, criteria for students work assessment in class, etc. All presentations gave rise to an intense debate; colleagues shared experiences in the field of foreign language teaching and students attainments assessment.
The section “Research for Enhancing Teaching Practices” attracted the most participants. Speakers and listeners concurred that sharing research and practical skills was useful for both their scientific and teaching work.
At the section “Literary Creativity: Encounters, Impact and Ties” Caitriona Kirby, a Lecturer in English and Irish Literature at the Institute of Art, Design and Technology (Dublin, Ireland) and Robert Irvine, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of English Literature at the University of Edinburgh (Great Britain) attended the presentations as listeners. The participants had an opportunity to look at the literature from the point of view of different languages and cultures, and to evaluate the unique character of each literature period.
The section “Computational Linguistics: from Research to Practice” was focused on the machine and computer-assisted translation, computer-assisted text analysis, machine translation quality assessment. Both the speakers and the audience exchanged views on the perspectives of the use of machine translation in different areas.
Summarizing the results of the conference, all participants noted the importance of communication of teachers and researchers from different universities. Of particular importance in current circumstances was cooperation with foreign partners, development of a new format for interaction, including the use of remote technologies.